Skip to main content

tv   Key Capitol Hill Hearings  CSPAN  February 7, 2014 2:00pm-4:01pm EST

2:00 pm
through rural development. i was there in 2011 for the they're taking food waste,ain restaurant grease and left overs from the gerber baby food plant and mixing it with lovely livestock manure and bill -- feeding into billions of pieces of bacteria in giant holding la, methane gas that powers 1200 homes. that is part of our future. [applause] bio-based manufacturing, michigan state again a leader that allows us to take soy oil and make car seat foam rather so you're sitting
2:01 pm
on soybeans and we are creating new markets and creating new opportunities through bio-based manufacturing area this is a bill that will help rural businesses get broadband internet access so they can get new customers in every part of michigan and across the country and be more competitive. bill, over the last developed ins energy development. this is a conservation bill that farmers, partner with them to protect our land and water resources. folks may not know that the largest investment that we make in land to water conservation in the country is through what we call the farm bill. this is how we partner with people who own land. [applause]
2:02 pm
wonderful, new partnership for the future. a historic new agreement between agriculture and conservation conservationies compliance with crop insurance so we are able to use the best managementw tools, practices, and guarantees our farmers and ranchers to continue to be the great stewards of the land they are. this is a nutrition bill that makes sure families have a safety net like farmers do. fromavings came solely interrupting fraud and misuse while maintaining the important benefits for families who need temporary health. -- help. we are bringing more healthy, locally grown foods into food co-ops and
2:03 pm
farmers markets. this is a deficit reduction bill that saves taxpayers $22 billion. out ands ago we started committed that we would cut $23 billion in spending. 2.5 years later we did. [applause] this is a reform bill that contains the greatest reforms to agricultural programs in decades. we finally ended direct payment subsidies given to farmers even in good times and instead of supporting families -- farmers [inaudible] loses the farm because of bad weather or market conditions. we have seen what happens and continues to happen in the weather. a blizzard killed 100,000 cows
2:04 pm
in north dakota. in michigan, 80 degree weather in march. spring but itwas was not. it got cold again and cherry farmers lost 90% of the crop. in california we are seeing the driest winter on record and most of the state is suffering from extreme or exceptional drought. farming is the risk is business there is. no other business has to worry about those issues as to whether or not they're going to survive. we are lucky that we still have americans willing to get up every morning and work hard and take on the challenges of the weather in the marketplace to produce our food. farm bill iss
2:05 pm
focused on the future, not the past. this bill is taking a critical step towards changing the paradigm of agriculture and supported by more than 370 groups from all over the country and every perspective, many people representing those groups and we are so grateful for your support. it has been a long road. we were -- worked hard to make sure every region of agriculture, every form of agriculture from specialty crocs represented. colleagueshank my here todayly who are who have heard meet talk about this bill for an awfully long time erie it my daughter and her the three son and
2:06 pm
most beautiful grandchildren in the entire world. [laughter] [applause] thanks to a lot of hard work we at a farm bill that works every american. families will continue to have foodafest, most affordable supply and we will strengthen agriculture and rural america for years to come. thanks much for being there. [applause]
2:07 pm
>> this is the alma mater of the speaker, debbie stevan now -- stebanow. expected.obama is call [inaudible] the first time a president has signed the bill.
2:08 pm
congress over of the vetoes twice after a title was discovered to be missing in the first ill. -- bill. introducing a number of democrats in the audience but neither of the two republican chairman and the ranking member are in attendance this afternoon. also we will have coverage for you on the c-span networks. check hagel is talking to reporters at 2:30 p.m. eastern. we plan to have that live for you on c-span2 depending on timing. it will be live on the c-span networks.
2:09 pm
2:10 pm
>> farm equipment in the background because president
2:11 pm
obama is going to sign the farm bill here shortly. this is the equine center at michigan state university and east lansing, michigan. president obama here with a number of democrats. while he has been in michigan, president obama has launched this afternoon with the new mayor of detroit. president obama signing the farm bill which passed this week in the u.s. senate. the house and senate are back next week and the house returning monday at noon eastern for general speeches, 2:00 p.m. for legislative work, and the senate back at 2 p.m. and they will take up the bill that would repeal the cuts to military pensions. back monday at 2 p.m. for their work in the house next week. a number of bills including one that deals with the consumer financial protection bureau and
2:12 pm
has coverage is here on c-span and the senate on c-span two. c-span2.
2:13 pm
2:14 pm
>> ladies and gentlemen introduce the president of the united states, please welcome ben lacross. [applause] >> good afternoon. i grew cherries, apples, and plums in michigan. [applause] i also serve on the board of directors for michigan farm bureau. on behalf of farmers across michigan i want to say thank you congress for passing a great farmville. it could not have gotten done
2:15 pm
without the leadership of our senator from our state, senator ow.bie stevan -- stabin my grandparents were dairy farmers and i am a second generation cherry grower. under the previous farmville, my cherries were not eligible for crop insurance. strengthens crop insurance and gives farmers like me the tools we need to survive a weather disaster. diverse crops will also benefit from the research investments in this farm bill. many of those projects will start right here at michigan state university. farmers will use this research to increase productivity, conservative natural resources, and help feed the growing world. i cannot think of a more
2:16 pm
appropriate venue to sign the 2014 farmville than michigan state university. -- nation's [applause] original land grant university. ladies and gentlemen, i would like to introduce the president of the united states of america, barack obama. [applause] ["hail to the chief" playing] [applause] >> hello.
2:17 pm
thank you so much. everybody have a seat. it is good to be at michigan state. thank you, ben for that wonderful introduction. give dan a wonderful round of applause. how did dad do, was a pretty good? there he is. i thought he did great. it is good to be in east lansing. it is good to be with all of you here today. heardere because i have about all the great things that you're doing and i want to thank the mayor and president simon for hosting us. i'm also here to do some scouting on my brackets. [applause] . just talked to the coach the spartans are pretty good -- looking pretty good.
2:18 pm
they had some injuries. always paces so that you peak right at the tournament. that is a fact. [applause] i got a chance to meet mark dantonio. you have got a rose bowl victory you guys, you are greedy. [laughter] you want to win everything. it is wonderful to be here. i love coming to michigan. mainly i love coming to michigan because of people. i also love coming here because there are few places in the country that better symbolize what we have been through together over these last four or five years. the american auto industry has
2:19 pm
always been the heartbeat of the michigan economy and the heart of american manufacturing so when that heartbeat was flatlining emma we all pulled together, all of us, autoworkers who punched in on the line, management who made tough decisions to restructure, elected officials like gary scheier whoark believe that rescuing america's most iconic industry was the right thing to do. and today thanks to your great and ingenuity and dogged determination, the american auto industry's engines are roaring again and we are building the best cars in the world again and some plants a running three shifts around the clock. something that nobody would've imagined just a few years ago. [applause] i just had lunch with detroit's new mayor, mike duggan.
2:20 pm
[applause] he told me if there is one thing he wants anybody to know it is that detroit is open for business and i have great confidence that he is going to provide the leadership that you need. really proud of him. [applause] the point is, we have all had to buckle down. we have all had to work hard, we have had to fight our way back east past five years and in a lot of ways, we are now in -- betteritioned positioned for the 21st century than anybody on earth. we learned this morning that our businesses in the private sector created more than 140,000 jobs last month adding up to about eight point 5 million jobs over the last four years. -- 8.5 million jobs over the last four years. lowest itnt is the has been since i was first elected. the country are
2:21 pm
saying they will say -- hire more folks in the days ahead. this is why i can believe this will be a breakthrough year for america. i have come here to sign a bill that hopefully means folks in washington feel the same way. creatingf wasting time crises that impede the economy, we're going to have a congress that is ready to spend some time creating new jobs and new opportunities and positioning us for the future and making sure our young people can take advantage of that future. that is important because even though our economy has been growing for four years now, even though we have been adding jobs for four years now, what is still true, something that was true before the financial crisis and is still true today is that those at the very top of the economic care med are doing better than ever. but the average american's wages, salaries, incomes, have not reason in a very long time.
2:22 pm
a lot of americans are working harder and harder just to get by , much less get ahead area that has been true since long before the financial crisis and the great recession. so we have got to reverse those trends. have got to build an economy that works for buddy, not just a few. we have to restore the idea of opportunity for all people, the idea that no matter who you are what you look like or where you came from, how you started out, what your last name is, you can make it if you want to work hard and take responsibility. that is the idea of the heart of this country, that is what is at stake and that is what we have got to work on. [applause] the opportunity agenda i laid out in my state of the union address will help us do that. fors an agenda built around parts, number one, more new jobs.
2:23 pm
american manufacturing and energy and american innovation. american technology. a lot of what you're doing here at michigan state helps to spur on that innovation in all sorts of areas that can then be commercialized into new industries and to create new jobs. number two, training folks with the skills to fill those jobs. something this institution does very well. number three, guaranteeing access to a world-class education for every child, not just some. [applause] that has to be a priority. that means before they even start school, we are working on pre-k that is high-quality and get syrian people prepared and take some of the way through college so they can afford it and beyond. therefore, making sure our economy rewards honest work with
2:24 pm
wages you can live on. and savings you can retire on. and, yes, health insurance that is there for you when you need it. [applause] some of this opportunity agenda i put forward will require congressional action. it is true. as i said at the state of the union, america does not stand still, neither will i. that is why over the past two weeks i have taken steps without legislation, without congressional action to expand opportunity for more families. we have created a new way for workers to start their own retirement savings, we have helped to make sure all of our students have high-speed rock band and high-tech learning tools that they need for this new economy. i have also said i am eager to work with congress wherever i can. the truth of the matter is
2:25 pm
america works better when we are working together and congress controls the purse strings at the federal level and a lot of the things we need to do require congressional action and that is prouder of not be our leaders who are here today. be -- couldr, could not be prouder of your own herie stabinow for extraordinary work. [applause] we all love debbie for a lot of reasons. she has been a huge champion of american manufacturing, but shepherded through this farm bill which was very challenging piece of business. she worked with republican senator thad cochran who was constructive in this process. we have representatives frank lucas working with collin peterson. we have a terrific contribution
2:26 pm
from our own secretary of agriculture, tom bill zack -- vilsack, who deserves a round of applause. congress passed a bipartisan "farmville" that is going to make a big difference in communities all across this to recognize one of your congressman who is doing outstanding -- an outstanding .ob and somebody who was just a wonderful mentor to me who. was -- when i was in the senate, a great public servant not just for your state but for the entire country. .arl levin he is always out there especially when it comes to our men and women in uniform. we are very proud of him. [applause]
2:27 pm
while we're at it we have a couple of out-of-towners. pat leahy from vermont. there are a lot of dairy farms up there. and from minnesota. all that cold air is blowing from minnesota down into -- despite its name, the the "farmville" is not just about helping farmers. calls it aill sacked jobs bill, and innovation bill. and infrastructure build. a research bill. a conservation bill. it is like a swiss army knife. trout, for those of you who know baseball. somebody who's got a lot of tools and multitasks. jobs,creating more good
2:28 pm
gives more americans a shot at opportunity and there are two big ways in which it does so. the farm bill lifts up our rural communities. over the past five years thanks to the hard work and know-how of america's farmers, we have had the strongest stretch of farm exports in our history. when i am traveling around the world, i am promoting american agriculture and as a consequence, we are selling more stuff to more people than ever before. it supports one million jobs, what we grow here and what we sell. it is a huge boost to the entire economy but especially the rural economy. here at michigan state your helping us to do more. i just got her to her of a facility where you are working with local businesses to produce renewable fuels. your helping farmers group cops
2:29 pm
that are healthier and more resistant to disease. theirtudents are raising own piglets on an organic farm. when i was in college i lived in a pigsty. i did not work in one. i am impressed by that. [laughter] that is no joke, by the way. your hygiene improved as you get older. bige are seeing some advances in american agriculture and today i am directing my administration to launch a new maiden role america initiative to help more rural businesses expand and hire and some were product stamped made in the usa to the rest of the world because we have great products here that need to be sold and we can do even more to sell around the world. [applause]
2:30 pm
but even with all this progress, too many rural americans are still struggling. right now, 85% of counties experience what is called resistant poverty. .hs are in rural areas before i was elected i represented illinois, home of a couple of your big ten rivals but also a big farming state. over the years, i have seen how hard it can be to be a farmer. a lot of big producers who are doing really well but there are even more small farms, family farms where folks are scratching out a living. to increasingly vulnerable difficulties in financing and all the inputs involved. workrs sometimes having to off the farm. they have got a couple of jobs outside the farm just to get health care to pay the bills, trying to keep it in the family,
2:31 pm
it is hard for young farmers to get started. and in these rural communities, a lot of young people talk about how jobs are so scarce even before the recession hit that they feel like they have to leave in order to have opportunity. they cannot stay at home. they have to leave. that is why this farm bill includes things like crop insurance so that when a disaster like the record drought we are seeing across much of the west hits our farmers, they do not lose her thing they have worked so hard to build. it invests in hospitals and schools, affordable housing, broadband infrastructure, all the things that help attract more businesses and make life easier for working families. this bill supports businesses develop cutting-edge biofuels like some of the work that is being done here. that has potential to create jobs and reduce our dependence on foreign oil. it boosts conservation efforts so that our children and grandchildren will be able to enjoy places like the mississippi river valley and
2:32 pm
chesapeake bay. it supports local food by investing in things like farmers markets and organic agriculture which is making my wife very happy. when michelle is happy, i do not know about everybody being happy but i know i am happy. [laughter] [applause] and so it is giving smaller producers, local reducers, folks like ben the opportunity to sell more of their products directly processingunch of and middlemen that make it harder for them to achieve. people will have healthier diets which will reduce the incidence of childhood obesity and keep us healthier and saves money. this does it while reforming our agricultural programs. whether they were planning crops are not.
2:33 pm
hard-earnedpayers dollars. it is not just automatic. the first thing this farm bill does, it helps rural communities grow and gives farmers some certainty. it puts in place important reforms. the second thing this farm bill does that is huge that make sure that america's children do not go hungry. this is where debbie's work was really important. one study shows that more than half of all americans will experience poverty at some point during their adult lives. for most folks, that is when you are ramenand you are eating all the time. for most families it is a crisis hits, you lose your job, somebody gets sick emma strains on your budget, you have a
2:34 pm
strong work ethic but it might take you six months, nine months, year to find a job. in the meantime, you have got families to feed. that is why for half a century this country has helped americans put food on the table when they hit a rough patch. harden they are working and are not making enough money to feed their kids. they are not looking for a handout. they're looking for a handout. a bridge to help get them through tough times. we sure do not believe that children should be punished when parents are having a tough time. won't --ry is stronger when we get families back on their feet. that is the idea behind what is known as the supplemental the
2:35 pm
attrition assistance program or snap. a large majority of recipients are children or the elderly or americans with disabilities. a lot of others are hard-working americans who need just a little help feeding their families while they look for job or they're trying to find a better one. in 2012 the program kept nearly 5 million people including more than 2 million children out of poverty. about that. 5 million people. position has been that any bill i sign must families. this bill does that. by giving americans more bang for their buck at places like farmers markets, we are making working families
2:36 pm
to eat healthy foods and we are supporting farmers like ben who make their living growing. we are creating new markets for produce farmers and it means that people have a chance to directly by from their farmers the kind of food that is going to keep them healthy. a lot of folks go through tough times at some point in their lives. that doesn't mean they should go hungry. not in a country like america. investing in the communities that grow our food, helping hard-working americans put that food on the table, that is what this farm bill does. well reducing our deficits. the leaders all feel the same way but it is a good time that democrats and republicans in congress were ready to come through with this bill and break
2:37 pm
the cycle in shortsighted partisan driven decision-making and get this done. it is a good sign. [applause] that is the way you should expect washington to work. we have more work to do. we have more work to do to potentially make sure that unemployment insurance is put in place for a lot of folks out there who need it. we have more work to pass them minimum wage and to do immigration reform which will help farmers like ben. let's keep the momentum going here. ahead, congress -- while congress is deciding what next -- what is next, i am doing every thing i can to strengthen the middle class and build ladders of opportunity in the middle class and i am sure that
2:38 pm
congress will join me because that is what you are looking for out of your elected officials at every level. god bless you. i am now going to sign this farm bill. [applause] >> down in front. announce that marge [inaudible] is here. she does great work out of the great state of ohio. >> everybody can see? >> no. the cameras cannot see. down in front.
2:39 pm
[inaudible] >> this is good work. on going to use every pen. -- i am going to use every pen. there you go. [applause]
2:40 pm
2:41 pm
["stars and stripes forever" playing]
2:42 pm
2:43 pm
2:44 pm
2:45 pm
>> the president used 11 pens to sign the farm will. the president calling on congress to pass immigration and immigration reform and minimum
2:46 pm
wage when they return. they will meet a new senator on monday. john walsh has been appointed to max the seat vacated by august. -- baucus. he will serve in that seat through january of 2015. also in washington, once again, this weekend next week, the issue of nsa surveillance i cleaned to be before members. surveillance to be before members. a report in "the theington post" and olympics are open today.
2:47 pm
some comments so far. athena says -- read more and post your thoughts that facebook.com/cspan. one of the western leaders who will not be at sochi is reddish prime minister and -- british prime minister david cameron. issue ofdressing the scottish independence. here's what he had to say. broke family of nations up. something very powerful and very precious the world over would go out forever. economic,s a moral, geopolitical, diplomatic, and yes, let's say privately, emotional case for keeping the united kingdom together.
2:48 pm
but still, however strongly we ticentwe can be a re nation. it can seem vulgar to fly the flag. some people have advised me to stay at of this issue and do not get too sentimental about the u.k. but frankly, i care too much to stay out of it. this is personal. "islandan old copy of story," my favorite book when i was a child and i want to give it to my children and give it to understando she can she is part of the story in a passionately hope that my children will be able to teach their children the same thing, that the stamp on their passport is a mark of pride. that together, these islands really do stand for something. they stand for bigger ideals, noble causes, greater values.
2:49 pm
our really united kingdom, brave, billion, but in airing, generous, tolerant, proud, this is our country, and we built it together. brick.y scotland, england, wales, northern ireland, brick by brick. this is our home and i could not bear to see it torn apart. i love this country. i love the united kingdom and all it stands for. i will fight with everything i have to keep us together. and so i want to be clear to everyone listening, there can be no complacency about the result of this referendum. the outcome is still up in the air. months to go,even seven months to do all we can to keep our united kingdom as one. seven months to save the most extra ordinary country in history and we must do whatever it takes.
2:50 pm
sewage everyone in england, wales, everyone like me who cares about the united kingdom, i want to say this. you do not have a vote you do have a voice. they are our friends and they are our neighbors and they are our families. you do have an influence to get on the phone, get together, e-mail, tweet, speak, let the message ring out from manchester -- from us to to the people of scotland. we want you to stay. think of what we have done together. but we can do together, what we stand for together. winning team in the history of the world, let us stick together for a winning future, too. airhat entire speech will on the c-span networks and on sunday night, prime minister
2:51 pm
cameron takes questions and the house of commons during the weekly question time. the role of women in government, the recursi london's subway -- by london's subway workers. the senate has been working on a postal service reform bill attempting to get it out of the red. guns and post offices were a major part of the markup. guns are prohibited inside postal properties. several senators including rand paul and mark baggage had competing views. the hearing is 2.5 hours. for joining us
2:52 pm
today. we have a couple of people coming back from the national prayer breakfast. we are not sure who is driving the bus they are on but it did not take a direct route. they should be here shortly. do, we want we will to finish up today and i want to thank everybody for the good we have used in taking on this challenge. it is not easy legislation to hammer out. a bipartisank on basis, that is the tradition of this committee. dr. coburn and i have worked with our staffs and i want to say a big thank you to them.
2:53 pm
for getting us to this point in time. we have used that 80-20 rule to move through some difficult patches and use the role of one of your partners when you are taking turns leading the health education committee. we are willing to compromise on policy. the principle is most important to us. when we pass legislation we work out a compromise with the house and senate to the president. that we could look one another and the american people in the eye and say we fixed this problem. we have not kicked the can down the road. we have fixed this problem to to bee postal service relevant and vibrant in the years going forward.
2:54 pm
and to provide the kind of service that businesses and other customers, individuals, residential customers need. i has said her levin would be willing to lead us off today. he has a couple of amendments. one of them deals with notification. for the pilots disposal program. anything you would like to add. amendmentognized for number four. >> there has been an effort here to see if there cannot be more expeditious disposal of excess property. whyve had questions as to it is in this bill but nonetheless, that seems to be where the majority is and probably more than majority,
2:55 pm
perhaps a consensus. i want to make sure that where this pilot program is utilized, that local governments are notified of any proposed disposal of property inside of a local government's jurisdiction. this amendment that has been excepted by our chairman and ranking members would require that local governments be notified of any properties in their jurisdiction that had been made part of the expedited disposal pilot program. -- this is a good amendment. i am pleased that senator levin and dr. common -- coburn have been able to come to an agreement. property is incorporated into this proposal. of omb -- any agencies that are looking to
2:56 pm
dispose of a piece of property needs to work with that local government. if gsa wants to sell billing or work with the city to zone property for future use. this is taking place through the current disposal process. senator levin has expressed concerns about the real property legislation and i believe his repose liz phair and ensures that state and governments are notified. dr. coburn. >> [inaudible] more comments? >> can your mind me, the savings, one of you have the number, $15 billion. just for the record. >> we do not know what the value is but we are at -- spending $2 billion a year maintaining empty buildings. >> hopefully one of the lists they should put on their because
2:57 pm
the house no longer does the page program, i walked past an empty building for the last two years that they should figure out what to do with. >> thank you for your support. thehave been supportive of property legislation. anymore, to questions? none, with all -- would all in favor say aye? opposed? the eyes have it. do have it and it is agreed to. letssue has come up in -- me go to senator begich. in regards toup alaska. >> thank you. i want to thank the chairman and the ranking member for accepting
2:58 pm
her consent. we wanted to bring this amendment up. the filing deadline passed. we learned that the postal service increase rate in certain type of packages over 50% and they use the press is called the -- it changedt and even the postmaster general acknowledges that there is unintended consequences because this is a national decision to make sure that if there is competition you would have a different kind of rate structure. enteral basket, the postal service is dominant. we have asked for a study whether the standard post packages and market dominant rather than competitive in certain rural areas so it is to get the post office, they have acknowledged this unintended consequence and we want to give them a chance to study it. i appreciate the chair and ranking member willing to accept that amendment.
2:59 pm
i ask for unanimous consent. >> any objection? the amendment is in order. we conversation to have had, have the deputy postmaster general and i may ask him to come to the table just a moment it.alk with us about any comments you would like to make and explain the amendment? >> i would be anxious for the post office to respond. i think the process they did, i understand it did in alaska there are clearly unintended consequences that they are market dominant forces and i hundreds if not more from alaskans across alaska and it would be hate to -- it would be great to hear their comment on the record. welcome. >> we understand that in alaska, the effect of these price
3:00 pm
increases could potentially have a disproportionate impact because of the lack of roads, for example in alaska. it is something that we are happy to look at, to work with you on. we think it makes sense. the amendment makes sense. to accepte than happy the amendment. i take from that that the post office is committed to solving this problem. >> yes. it.he postal service is that is how they get their goods . i appreciate it. i think that chairman and the ranking member. >> any further conversation on this amendment? hearing none, all in favor say aye. ayes have it. >> mr. chairman, i would like to
3:01 pm
clarify the amendment i offered numberepted was levin four as modified. go to the we will republican side, and you, you arepaul, recognized. please proceed. >> thank you, mr. chairman. last week there was questions about -- >> is this amendment number one? called -- this is amendment number three. >> amendment number three. >> last week there were questions whether this amendment which would allow the carrying of guns on postal property, whether it that would up lie to
3:02 pm
post offices in malls or federal buildings. we do not believe that original wee which allow that, but have distributed this in red, thirde changes, and the in thiswe say nothing section or an amendment they by this section shall be construed to affect the rights of private property owners or the application of laws in relation to federal property not a post officer postal property. we think this explains the concerns, and we would like to have a vote. >> i would ask you to know back and repeat for us slowly what you just -- i want to make sure i understand. >> it is a mandate to make explicit if there are private regulations or private restrictive covenants that does not allow guns in a mall that those would still be in place and this would not supersede private restrictions on the carrying of guns, nor would it supersede any federal --
3:03 pm
>> a mall -- there are post offices located in malls, country stores, convenience stores -- >> it says the rights of private property owners. anything that has restrictive covenants on ownership in that particular location would not be superseded. this ruling basically supersedes the post office's rules, but does not supersede any private contractual rules nor any federal, state, or local laws on guns. >> could you take a moment and bring us up to speed on the court ruling, i believe it is a district court judge in colorado had been asked to consider an
3:04 pm
instance involving a postal customer who had the right to carry a weapon in his state, in his county. there was a question whether or not he could have that weapon in the parking lot, as i recall, the parking lot of the post office. could you clarify -- what is the issue there and how has the judge addressed that? >> there's both the issues of parking lots versus insides of post offices, and they are attempting to address in parking lots, but i think whether the courts have made a decision here or not, i think we should go ahead and say what the will of the people is through the representatives. >> help me with this, senator
3:05 pm
paul. did the district court judge's ruling in this case, did it set a policy or standard beyond a particular county or that post office was distributed, or just to that post office? >> i am not an attorney. you will often see a pellet or district courts make decisions and they do not apply. my understanding is you want to make a standard for the country, you ought to do it, and whether the court has ruled one way or another, that does not prevent us from making a decision and weighing in on this. i am concerned there are people who inadvertently can go afoul of the law that can were just
3:06 pm
going hunting and stop to pick up their mail, and i think we ought to fix this problem. >> i recognize the deputy postmaster general. >> what i understand is an individual in a court case won the case because he had a gun in his pickup truck, and the law says you cannot do that. mind, theture in my hometown post office where you pull in, you walk in to get your mail, and you walk back out and you violate the law. -- the law if the hunting rifle is in the car. the court sided with the individual. the post office is appealing that ruling now. my hope is this will go all the way to the supreme court because i think it violates the second amendment. thatr way, the fact is senator paul is making the point is what we have seen in
3:07 pm
precedents is the trend to allow responsible people to act responsibly in their state, and all senator paul is asking to expand the rights of responsible gun owners so that they do not have to on holster or do not have to change everything and mail.alk in to get their that is precluded. all the post office has to say if you are following the laws of the state, in terms of the second amendment rights, and you are not in violation. so i do not think this is as hard and amendment as everybody thinks it is. i do not think it will create a difficulty. we have done this before in certain areas, and it has not been harmful, it has been beneficial. >> thank you. let me ask, are you familiar with the court case we are
3:08 pm
talking about here? i will if you are, -- otherwise you, if you are, what is the postal service toss position, are you a appealing the judge's one, and more broadly, your comments on the underlying amendment being offered. >> with regard to the legal status of the case, i would defer to our general counsel who is here, who would the in a better position to describe the status of the case. , marshall is the postal service general's counsel. thanks, thanks mr. chairman. the case you are referring to is a case out of colorado, as you suggested, and in that case, the plaintiff was challenging the postal regulation which bands the carrying of -- which bans the carrying of guns on postal
3:09 pm
property. the district court determined that the -- our that our regulation was not unconstitutional insofar as it prohibited the bringing of guns in to post a property, but the judge also determined with regard to the postal parking lot in this particular post office, with regard to only this plaintiff, that our restriction was violated of of the second amendment. we are appealing that decision to the united states court of appeals for the 10th circuit, as is he appealing to determination by the judge but carrying guns in the post office is constitutional. >> thank you for that clarification. the perspectives of the postal service on this underlying amended, please. >> thank you, mr. chairman. our postal inspectors are responsible for the safety and security of all postal
3:10 pm
facilities. i strongly believe the current policy should remain in effect. they are concerned about encouraging any additional security measures, they are concerned about the safety of our employees. they believe given that 32,000 facilities it is going to cost to godditional resources through every one of those facilities and make sure that they are safe and secure. these ministry did burdens on postal inspectors, from their wood of view, is going to make it difficult on them. the third factor is as you know there has been some history of violence with regard to the postal facilities, and i think for the safety and security of both our customers and our employees we believe our current policy should remain in effect. , may i make an
3:11 pm
comment? >> yes, please. >> i think this illustrates why we need this amendment. post office is obviously opposed to allowing guns in the archaeological facilities and they are appealing it. it is still an open question, and the people should weigh in on this to represent tatian -- representatives. it might be noted that the history of violence in post offices has not been from citizens coming into the post offices, it has been committed by postal employees. >> ok. what i would like to do at this point in time is to offer -- any discussion on this? point, ifone other you would not mind. as far as the amendment i have offered, this amendment is supported by the nra, the national association of gun rights, and the gun owners of america, all three groups will
3:12 pm
oppose an attempt to strike this language. any attempt to replace it with a study will be opposed by the national rifle association, gun owners of america, and this will be seen as a vote whether it is a vote to replace this will be seen as a vote as to whether or not use up port law abiding right to carry guns in parking lots. this is a big deal in role america where people might show up differently in a parking lot. i am not willing to wait to let this go to the supreme court, to let a kentucky and go to jail for accidentally showing up in a parking lot with a rifle with a shotgun in their truck. this is a big deal, and i hope everybody will see it as truck. a replacement effort will be seen as a vote against law- abiding gun owners in america. >> senator levin? justice --rtment
3:13 pm
department of justice, are they represented here today? many of these being issues of construction. are they represented here today? under the postal service's position has been made clear. i think we ought to understand that the opinion of the judge is onet the parking lot thing, but inside of a federal building is another thing. the former in that case being unconstitutional for a gun to be restricted, but in the latter case, in terms of inside buildings, i think that it is constitutional. this amendment does not make any such distinction. i think for us to proceed to a. this amendment on this bill at this time rather than leaving it for the floor and get in the justice opinion would be a mistake. >> one point is the post office even allowing them
3:14 pm
in the parking lot, so we have the full force of the post office appealing and saying they don't want you to have your shotgun even in your car, in your post office parking lot. that is what we are talking about. we are not talking about the courts said it was ok. what we are talking about is the post office is appealing. that is what we are voting on. >> no, we are not voting on the parking lot. both sides have appealed. the postal service appealed on the question of the parking lot, but this amendment is not limited to a parking lot. the other side, the plaintiff in that case, the citizen is appealing the decision of the court that inside federal buildings that this kind of restriction is constitutional and this amendment would reverse that. i think we should hear the justice department formally on this. we should not make a decision before this gets to the floor, if we have time, which i would
3:15 pm
assume we would, to at least to hear from the justice department on this matter. i think we should leave this to the floor as some kind of review by interested persons. perhaps a hearing. but in any event, not to adopted this time. >> anyone else? i am going to call up a second- degree amendment i will be offering in response to senator paul's amendment. growing up in virginia -- my and grandfather would take me hunting. we were up in west virginia. i remember a number of times going hunting in the morning or coming back later in the day, we would put our shotguns in the trunk of our car, and we would stop at a place, a convenience store, we would stop at different places, get something to eat, maybe something else we needed to buy. when i first heard about the
3:16 pm
parking lot amendment, the court case in colorado, i actually thought about those experiences with my dad and thought about, well, what if we stopped at a post office on our way home from spending a day hunting? i'm glad that case is being heard in the courts. i think there is a very narrow interpretation that has been described by senator paul and the postal service. that will be revised by the u.s. circuit of appeals. i agree with senator levin. the amendment offered by senator paul goes well beyond the parking lot. my strong inclination is for us not to get ahead of the courts, to let the circuit court of appeals hear the case, and to have the input, of among others the department of justice, but frankly those who think the district court judge decided the right thing.
3:17 pm
i have spent a lot of years of my life trying to improve the finances of the postal service, making sure that they do not just have the funds to for survive, to be relevant, but to be robust. just about everybody on the subcommittee has done a great job on this. in addition to managing expenses, moving forward the postal service must continue to manage i think some 32,000 post offices throughout the country and that includes ensuring the safety of its employees, its customers, property at each of these 32,000, 33,000 facilities. while our committee has focused on the financial health and the department caliber service the postal service offers, my colleagues would agree that ensuring the physical safety of post office employees,
3:18 pm
its customers, and the mail should be a top priority. senator paul has offered an amendment to essentially allow the carrying of firearms on postal property so long as the individual is abiding by state laws. the postal service maintains the current regulation barring the possession of firearms on postal property, barring law enforcement, reserves and promote public safety and is in the best interest of its customers and employees. my view is this. how can we vote on something when we have not heard a minute of testimony from a single expert or consulted relevant federal law enforcement agencies, particularly on an issue of this magnitude? i do not believe we should up end decades of settled law without at least studying the issue. i would urge us today to commit
3:19 pm
to studying the issue before acting without having all the facts in front of us, while the issue of the parking lots will go before the federal courts. i want to offer a second-degree amendments for the paul amendment number three. i would like to offer a modified version of my second-degree amendment that was circulated this morning. the modification makes clear that the postal service must immediately begin implementing any changes recommended in the reports. let me say that again. the modification makes clear that the postal service must immediately begin implementing any changes recommended in the reports. this amendment would have a group of experts look at this issue, recommend what if any changes to current law would be prudent. it recommends the bureau of
3:20 pm
inspection service, the bureau of alcohol, tobacco, and firearms, and the department of justice submitted reports to the house and senate regarding the security changes, if any, that may need to be made across the country should the carrying of firearms consistent with state law be allowed on postal properties or inside postal offices. my amendment requires the postmaster general to submit a report to the committees of jurisdiction in the house and senate for the process that recommend security changes and whether these would necessitate facility closures or relocations. the postmaster general would also be required to make recommendations regarding the feasibility of the many current regulations to address be lawful carrying of firearms on postal properties and how that would impact the safety of postal employees, customers, property, and the u.s. mail. i would not want to take a vote on any amendment without having all the facts, and with senator
3:21 pm
paul's amendment, we just don't have that much to go on at this time. we need to know the consequences for the public safety and the postal service's finances. i would urge support for carper second-degree amendment requiring a study on this issue. the modification makes clear the postal service must immediately begin implementing any changes recommended in the reports. >> mr. chairman -- >> mr. chairman? >> one difficulty i have with your second-degree amendment is you are giving the post office authority that congress ought to have when you tell them to begin implementing immediately whatever they find out in their study. we have no assurance anybody from congress will have capability on that committee and have no idea where that study might go.
3:22 pm
it might be considerably more difficult than the present language. so, with that caveat, i have some difficulty and i appreciate that you put your guns in the trunk of the car when you went to the post office, but i come from a part of the country where most people do not have the drug. they call it a pickup. [laughter] >> senator tester? >> mr. chairman, i appreciate this modification. i appreciate senator paul's amendment, what he is trying to do here. i would just say this. i am in strong support of the second amendment. i've got more guns than any of you and i want some more, ok? at the bottom line, some places with guns are not appropriate. this building would not be appropriate to have a gun in. i do not think it is appropriate to have a gun in the post office. the parking lot is a different issue, however.
3:23 pm
in rural america, there are a lot of folks who might be out hunting gophers and they have the guns sitting in the pickup. it's just a matter to have the tools to do their work with. if i had my druthers, and we do not have the opportunity to vote for this, i would vote to allow guns in the parking lot, but not in the post office. >> thank you, senator tester. any more comments? if not, i am going to ask the clerk to call the roll on carper amendment number two as modified. [roll call vote]
3:24 pm
>> senator tester? senator begich? senator baldwin? senator heitcamp? senator coburn? [roll call vote] senator enzi? senator ayotte? senator carper? mr. chairman, on the vote with
3:25 pm
those present, the yeas are 8, the nays are 5. on this vote, the yeas are 9, the nays are 6. the amendment is agreed to. >> thank you. i think we need to do a procedural vote? >> yes, mr. chairman, the amendment we will be voting on is now the primary amendment, and i would like to propose a second-degree amendments to the primary amendment and that would be amendment three as modified. >> suspend just for a moment please. >> thanks.
3:26 pm
senator paul, i think i said at the last markup -- this is my first opportunity to chair a markup of a major bill. this is my 13th or 14th year in the senate, and i cannot remember another time when someone offered amendment and a second-degree amendment was offered for the underlying amendment. i also offer the opportunity to really to offer a third- degree amendment, which is really what the original amendment.
3:27 pm
if that were to be approved, i do not think that would be approved. if you were to invite me to come back again -- we could be here for the rest of the day. i do not think that is what is intended by the rules. >> in my experience, what usually happens is it turns out to be a side-by-side rather than a second-degree amendment. usually they get their vote. >> in this case, i have offered a second-degree. we have had discussion of it. we have had a vote. >> can i make one response? >> yes, please. >> i guess just a question. this goes along with senator in the saying, is there an attempt by the majority not to vote on this issue? you would rather vote indirectly on this issue rather than directly? the issue is at hand. it is important. can you carry your gun into a parking lot? can you carry your gun into a post office?
3:28 pm
is that the intent of the chair not to have to vote on this issue directly? >> mr. chairman, there is no question where i stand on these issues of second amendment rights. i have taken a beating from a lot of folks because of my votes in the past, but i do the right thing for alaska. if you want to do the parking lot issue, let's write that amendment right now. let's just say, whatever the district court has ruled, that is the law in this amendment. i am happy to support that right now. >> i'm happy to vote on multiple amendments. the thing is, we should not have a committee where we only get to vote on certain amendments. you can vote on an amendment you could agree to. that's fine. you just voted to strike this language that would protect hunters and gun owners.
3:29 pm
you all voted to strike this and not address an issue, a very serious issue. you can't have it both ways. >> senator paul, i disagree. in the way the amendment is drafted, it is clear. after the process is moment it, if you want the parking lot issue, i am happy to do that right now. and that would be very simple. that would the in accordance with the way the court has already ruled, and i support that. i hear you. if you want to do it, let's do it. let's quit playing parlor games. let's cut to the chase and make sure that my folks in alaska, when they go to the eastchester branch in anchorage and they park with her gun in the car, they are not going to get in trouble. that is the issue. let's cut to the chase and do it. that's what gun owners in my state care about. >> my inclination is for us to
3:30 pm
move on. every now and then there are debates and other committees and issues, we reach a point where the ranking member says this is something we need to continue to have a discussion on. obviously this issue will be on the floor. we will revisit this issue. you will have an opportunity to offer an amendment, perhaps craft it somewhat differently. maybe along the lines suggested by senator begich. the chair is going to rule the paul amendment as amended by the second-degree amendment has been approved, and i would like us to move on to take on other amendments. this is not the finish line. this is not the finish line, ok? we have the floor. we have conference. and we have courts. so this is an issue that will get a lot of air time before we are done. all right, thank you. with that, we will come back --
3:31 pm
go ahead, senator tester. >> quickly, mr. chairman, being in this position, and the previous position for 15 years now, and i don't know i've ever had anyone come up to me and say it's really important that i need to carry my gun into a post office. and montana is a very gun-rich state. on the other side of the coin, there has been debates about guns and parking lots of other places before. let's not kid ourselves. this is about politics. it's about 100% politics. because if i vote against this amendment, the commercials are not going to say jon tester voted against guns in post offices. they are going to say jon tester voted against guns in parking lots, which is where the concerns would be.
3:32 pm
let's not fool anybody here. this is not about good policy. this is about a political election in november and what kinds of ads will be run. and how the record will be distorted in those ads. >> i want to echo that because at the beginning of this debate it was clear, senator paul said nra will score this. that is a blinking light, nra is going to score this. you will be in big trouble if nra does not approve. let's vote on the parking lot amendment and quit obfuscating this with some demand everybody -- my hope >> is we will >> get a good vote on this floor and we will have a chance to revisit this issue. >> one comment. most of the amendments we are going to have on this bill are about parochial politics, whether it is parochial
3:33 pm
representing the printers, not closing down a service center or limiting closure of post offices, they are parochial events and political events, too, because the point i was make him this bill is about expanding revenues and cutting costs for the post office, and i think we ought to get back to working on the substance of the postal bill. word.ator, johnson, last >> the way to get past this impasse is to vote on both amendments. vote on both of them. that would be the way to do it. for the chair to say we will get this vote on the floor, that has not been the history since i have been in the senate. we have not been able to vote for amendment on the floor. it is part of the dysfunction of this place. i could not sit back and remain
3:34 pm
silent. we are nodding -- we are not getting votes on amendments. just vote. ask mr. chairman, i want to echo in support of senator johnson's comment. i would like to deal with just parking lots. i raised the issue last time as an example of what a judge has already decided. albeit not for the rest of the country. it seems to me that we ought to amendments and vote on. >> i do not know if i can air t .00%, i will work hard to make sure we have that opportunity. let's move on. >> i want to make sure it is clear to the senator that senator paul's amendment is offered, find and know there is a process here and we can object to the ruling of the chair and move forward. if we object to the ruling and
3:35 pm
senator paul's amendment, then i am going to make it very clear we will have a very simple amendment to echo the issues that i hear from alaskan gun owners every day, and that is on this issue of the arcing lot, because that is what the presentation was a week ago by senator paul as the issue. that is what we should hone in on. that was the court case he talked about and case is clear, so i want to make this very clear because i think that is your point that we should offer rate, and i will recognize you want to move on, but in some ways, why don't we deal with this here and offer his amendment, we will draft something up quickly. i cannot imagine if your amendment passes, then it goes forward. then hopefully that will pass and we will get a part of this issue resolved. >> let me say in response, i
3:36 pm
think we had a good discussion here. i know not everybody is happy with where we are. i think the best way for us to get happy is to continue this conversation. i want to be able to bring this bill to the floor. i want us to be able to continue this conversation. there's a clear compromise here that can be offered on the floor. it could be bipartisan, does not have to be paul's, and there's a good chance it would the adopted. it would address the underlying concern here, take politics out, and address what is a real concern. i can see how the shotgun in the trunk or the pickup is an issue. let's just move on, ok? and i pledged to work with senator coburn, senator paul on the democratic side to get this resolved.
3:37 pm
i want to make it simple. it just seems why don't just do with this once and for all? i think if senator paul was thinking about this, we could have a compromise right here to do what we both wanted to and be done. >> mr. chairman? the problem from my standpoint with continuing this is that senator paul offered an amendment, legitimate, you offered a second-degree,
3:38 pm
legitimate. and i do not know procedurally how you get back on to that now without like you said before we can be here all day and keep voting and voting and voting over and over and over. my sense in looking at the parliamentary posture here in the committee at this point, at least for now we ought to close this issue down, go on to other amendments, and maybe if there is a way to bring it procedurally to bring it back up, but we are spinning our wheels here. >> if i was cheering this committee i would rule against senator paul as well. otherwise we will never have a process that we can operate committees on. i stand with the chairman in saying that this is not an eligible amendment because it is actually third-degree amendment. we do not allow these in the senate. even though some of us might want to come up because we lost
3:39 pm
privileges on the floor. i would just back up the chairman that i would rule exactly the same way, that it violates parliamentary procedure, and that he cannot have it. i think we move on. >> senator begich, i would urge you to -- i would urge you to withdraw your objection and let us move forward and actually vote on the paul amendment as amended, as substituted, and i promise you we will come back and revisit this issue sooner or later on the floor and you will have every opportunity along with every democrat and republican on this committee to craft that proposal, and i think we will have a good chance of getting it done. we will have the opportunity to get the input from law enforcement agencies and others that we have not been able to receive.
3:40 pm
so i would urge you not to object and let us move forward. >> i would also say if you object to the ruling of the chair and you are successful, this committee will never operate effectively again because you will have allowed a precedent in the committee for a third-degree amendment, which is a disaster, which means it never ends, which means we can never move product through the committee. >> mr. chairman, i understand what the ranking member is saying, but the fact is we will determine whether those happen later on down the line. i think this is an important enough issue, more important than the parochial interests you talked about. we are talking about the constitution. and i think that brings us to a higher level, and i support senator begich in his objection. i quite frankly think we should
3:41 pm
take a vote on these two issues, as senator johnson has said, get it behind us. this could be done by now and we just move on. >> mr. chairman, again, and i recognize that some people might think we will be here all day on all kinds of amendments, but my view is this is part of the committee process. sometimes we agree, sometimes we do not, and we have a tug of war. i would move to waive the rules for the purpose of two amendments. one would be the rand paul commitment, one would be the begich amendment, specifically on the parking lot issue which will be drawn here quickly. [inaudible]
3:42 pm
>> the senior democrat on this committee is not me. it is senator levin. from time to time i looked for him advice, and i just asked him for his advice, and i will ask him to share this with us. >> we cannot break the rules, we cannot override the rules that way. i believe -- or else we are going to have an endless overriding of the rules. that means there are no rules. that may sound familiar to some of you. that is what i believe. and so senator coburn is correct now. on the other hand, we can if we wish by unanimous consent to have two amendments be in order, let them be drafted, and see if we can come up with a unanimous consent agreement to proceed at
3:43 pm
the end of the markup so there is time to not adopt, but to write these two amendments. i would suggest that the chair withhold a vote on adopting the substitute until the end of the markup and during that time let's have these two amendments prepared and see if we cannot get a unanimous consent agreement to vote on them, because that is within the rules, by unanimous consent. i would be very careful and just overriding the chair. i think it opens up a lawless committee procedure. >> all right. i think that is good advice, and why don't we -- i want to thank senator coburn for his comments
3:44 pm
and helping us get to do this point. i think we will have the vote on paul as amended by my substitute, and why don't we use the remainder of this markup to see what we can do in terms of finding something we can all agree on, most of us agree on, and with that having been said, let me -- do we need to -- >> at least agree to vote on, i mean not necessarily agree on the substance, but that we would agree by unanimous consent hopefully to vote on one or two amendments. save that for the end, so we have an hour or whatever to draft those two amendments. >> i will turn to whoever is advising us on these matters, staff, but in terms to what i need to be doing at this time. do i need to make unanimous consent, or do we need to just move on to the next amendment? say something, please. >> yes. >> the latter. >> just set it aside and move on. >> we will set it aside and move
3:45 pm
on to the next amendment. i am not sure who that might be, but it might be. >> i would like reflect on what we covered on the baldwin amendment. we had a robust debate on the suctionkup which struck 301 of the bill relating -- struck section 301 of the bill relating to governance over the rate-setting process. recall, when we set the issue aside, there were some
3:46 pm
pretty good exchanges where something that is now fondly referred to as the carper audible was presented, and i think maybe i just prefer things in writing. we made an agreement that we would set it aside, that we would put something together in writing and have a back and forth and maybe come to an consensus. that -- as the committee suspended its consideration of this though, i want to say i amediately put together compromise language based on some of the input i heard during the debate. night to actually that the majority and minority staff of this committee, trying to incorporate if not the exact sentiments of the spirit of the debate that we had. i have to say i was disappointed
3:47 pm
we did not receive any written response to that until 8:30 p.m. last night. it was disappointing. i also wanted to make a couple of comments for the record. i will take a little direction from the chairman. there are a couple of issues related to scoring that were set on the record last week that ended up being inaccurate. rather than calling up employees and questioning their assumptions, i would like to be able to submit for the record some concerns, including the fact that my understanding is
3:48 pm
that the 10-year outlook spreadsheets that were distributed last week at our markup included about a $4 billion drop in revenue due to a predicted recession, that should have been something we had a chance to look at. when i put together a proposal that is a compromise from the original baldwin-mccaskill amendment, we asked the postal service for a review of the ten- year outlook. we received one on -- what is the date?
3:49 pm
we received one earlier this week. we have also -- we received one on the 4th at 11:00 a.m. we have one that has been distributed today. it refers to my amendment. there is a $4 billion difference between what the postal service sent to my office in response to my request for scoring on the compromise amendment. we just discovered that, that is very distressing to me in terms of getting our numbers straight. let's get back to the merits. mr. chairman and mr. ranking member, if you want me to put in further documentary record to underscore these concerns, i would be happy to do that. i do not want to take the committee's time, because i do have a modification i would like to offer. in the spirit of getting to a greater compromise.
3:50 pm
when i offered the amendment last week, i talked about two issues -- the rates and the governance. the rates are important to my state because we have almost 200,000 jobs in my state that relate to timber, paper making, printing, and mailing. we have about 12,000 postal workers. the health of the postal service is intertwined with the health of my state's economy. the rates, the certainty, the volatility all matters in terms of my state's economy. governance is very important, because part of the postal service operates as a monopoly. i believe that the substitute amendment that was put before us last week puts that monopoly in charge of setting its own rates. we just do not do that. we have to protect ratepayers
3:51 pm
and consumers. i used the analogy last week of the electrical utility. you would never let them set their own electrical rates. you have state, public utility commissions or public service commissions that take testimony, gather input from all the stakeholders affected and then make a decision to either approve a submission or reject it or modify it. we have got to keep that in place for at least that part of the post office that is a monopoly. that is what the amendment that i introduced last week will accomplish. i would like to modify what was the baldwin-mccaskill amendment, and i believe that has been distributed in writing. what it would do on rates, it
3:52 pm
would allow the exigent price increase to remain in effect for one full year. after that, the remaining exigency amount would be recouped by moving to a cpi plus one. the cpi plus one would remain in effect until a new system was implemented. it would maintain the scheduled rewrite of the rate process in 2017, which could lead to future rate increases. only they would be part of a transparent process that involves the postal service' customers. the prc projects that my amendment would bring in $3 billion more in total revenue to the postal service versus some of the -- the carper audible.
3:53 pm
this actually is a real, true compromise. because of what you are trying to do to enable the post office to become profitable. on governance, under current law, which might append it would maintain, the regulatory commission would establish a new racism and 2017. there is likely to be an amendment to my modificatioin. my understanding of that second- degree amendment is that it would make the 4.3% exigency rate permanent, putting the postal service in a position where there is no incentive to initiate rate review.
3:54 pm
i think this gets us back into a very difficult situation for those who we might consider captive customers of the postal monopoly. prc would be powerless in that instance, there would be no recourse. before i get in too deeply to speaking against second-degree amendment, let me make formal my offering of the modification as i have described it and urge support. >> senator baldwin, i am going to offer a substitute on behalf of your amendment.
3:55 pm
>> a substitute or a second- degree? >> a second-degree. i have been here for a while, i have not seen anyone more tenacious and dogged on an issue and more thoughtful than you have been. and i commend you for your tenacity and persistence. i would call up at this time our second-degree amendment and talk about it. i want us to go back in time a bit. i want to go back to august 1 of last year, when we introduced the underlying bill, dr. coburn and i. we worked for eight months to get to that point. what we proposed on rates was this -- we said that the postal service would be free to raise rates to the extent that they thought it was appropriate.
3:56 pm
if there were products that were underwater that the postal service could raise rates to recover their costs. dr. coburn suggested with a fair amount of reason that if they raise rates too much, the mailers would stop using the postal service. there would be a self-correcting period of time. it was really a free-market approach. for me, it had some appeal and a lot of appeal for dr. coburn. that was august 1. when we proposed our substitute a week or so ago, we moved way off of that proposal. what we basically moved to was a proposal that said the exigent
3:57 pm
rate case agree to a couple months ago by the prc would be the new baseline going forward. and that, beginning in 2015, that the cpi cap would go to cpi plus one. an exigent rate case starting in 2015, cpi plus one would go into effect for the foreseeable future. unless an agreement along the line on a new rate structure. we gave the prc a very minimal role in terms of deciding what that new rate structure would look like. that was our proposal. we moved off of a pure market system to one where the exigent rate case was the new baseline and cpi plus one would follow going forward in 2015.
3:58 pm
we put the postal service in the driver's seat, i am not even sure if the prc was in the car. when we had a markup, in the conversation in a markup since that time, it was suggested that we back off of cpi plus one and go back to cpi, which is where we have been since 2006. and that we find a way to give prc a role. the idea was starting in 2017, the prc would propose a new rate structure and begin a dialogue with the postal service on that new rate structure. unlike our substitute amendment, we did not give the postal service veto rights to just kill it.
3:59 pm
they would have to come to some kind of agreement. the prc has the opportunity to propose the rate structure, the postal service would have -- am i correct? >> no, under the second-degree amendment the postal service would initiate the review. and hopefully work with the postal regulatory commission and posing something. the regulatory commission would be able to veto -- >> let me be clear. 2017, postal service proposes a rate structure, passes it to the prc, they can say yay or nay. if they say yay, we stay at cpi. that is where we are now. exigent rate is the baseline going forward, 2015 would be a move to cpi, not cpi plus one.
4:00 pm
if there is not an agreement between prc and the postal service on a new rate structure in 2017, cpi stays in place. why do we like that? dr. coburn and i have asked the postal service to run any number of 10-yaer financial statements to tell us what net income is likely to be, operating income is likely to be, cash on hand, debt situation going forward. if everybody here -- look through your papers. everyone should have a two- pager. the first page has yellow at the bottom. top says "u.s. postal service 10-year outlook."
left
right